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How to say 'Thank You' and 'Sorry' in Thai?

posted Jan 9, 2017, 8:23 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Jan 17, 2017, 8:33 AM ]

Thank You

Thank you very much for reading my article. The word 'Thank you' in Thai is also very difficult to use because you have to think about the situation before choosing the right one. Although the most popular one is khòp khun, but it is less commonly used.

Alright, let's start from the base word, khòp khun (ขอบคุณ; base word). This word is a little bit too polite for using with friends. Anyway, we need to use this word in any occasions that require some respect, and we (sometimes) need khráp (for male) or khà (for female) at the end. Making it khòp khun khráp or khòp khun khà.

To make it even more polite, you have to add phrá (พระ) at the middle of it, making it khòp phrá khun khráp/khà (ขอบพระคุณครับ/ค่ะ; polite).

To add 'very much', the adjective mā̂kmā̂k is added. Finally, you have khòp (phrá) khun mā̂kmā̂k khráp/khà (ขอบ(พระ)คุณมากๆ ครับ/ค่ะ; thank you very much).

To add a little bit more politeness, usually used in the formal announcements or with customers, you would find yourself better to use khō̌ khòp phrá khun thân _(name or position, e.g. lū̂k khā́ ~ customer)_ pen yā̀ng sū̌ng (ขอขอบพระคุณท่าน_(ลูกค้า)_เป็นอย่างสูง; very polite).

But among friends, you don't use these words. What you normally use (as the base word) is khòp chai (ขอบใจ; casual - base word). And keep in mind that Thais do not use khráp or khà with friends, so you use khòp chai alone. The suffixes for using with friends will be introduced later.

Anyway, khòp chai is too long, so in some situations, we use chai (ใจ; casual). Short and easy. We can also add the second-person pronoun like mueng (มึง) or kāe (แก) after chai to separate it with another adjective (e.g. mā̂kmā̂k) and other suffixes. Alternatively, if mueng or kāe is absent, it can be the last word, too!

Please note that kāe is more feminine.

And here are the list of adjectives and suffixes that you can add. The list can go on and on infinity, anyway.

  1. mā̂k - มาก; adjective (very much)
  2. mā̂kmā̂k(-lōei) - มากๆ (เลย); adjective (very much)
  3. sàtsàt(-lōei) - สัสๆ (เลย); adjective (fucking thank you)
  4. híahía(-lōei) - เหี้ยๆ (เลย); adjective (fucking thank you)
  5. chíphā̌i(-lōei) - ชิบหาย (เลย); adjective (fucking thank you)
  6. chingching(-lōei) - จริงๆ; adjective (sincerely)
  7. mā̂kchingching - มากจริงๆ; adjective (very much, sincerely)
  8. wà - ว่ะ; suffix
  9. woêi - เว่ย; suffix
  10. à - อะ; suffix
  11. ná - นะ; suffix
  12. khā́p - ค้าบ; suffix - informal form of khráp - masculine
  13. khā̂ - ค่า; suffix - informal form of khà - feminine

With this list, we can construct the "thank you" word in Thai by using the following template: (khòp) + chai + (mueng/kāe) + (adjective) + (suffix) + (mueng/kāe). For example:

  1. chai wà (ใจว่ะ)
  2. chai woêi (ใจเว่ย)
  3. chai à (ใจอะ)
  4. chai wà mueng (ใจว่ะมึง)
  5. chai kāe wà (ใจแกว่ะ)
  6. chai woêi kāe (ใจเว่ยแก)
  7. chai ná (ใจนะ)
  8. chai ná woêi (ใจนะเว่ย) - we can use 2 suffixes together, but I don't know how to describe because I don't think there are any rules.
  9. chai khā́p (ใจค้าบ)
  10. chai mueng mā̂k wà (ใจมึงมากว่ะ)
  11. khòp chai mā̂kmā̂k lōei wêi (ขอบใจมากๆ เลยเว่ย)
  12. chai mueng híahía chingchinglōei a (ใจมึงเหี้ยๆ จริงๆ เลยอะ)
  13. chai mā̂kmā̂k lōei ná khā́p (ใจมากๆ เลยนะค้าบ)

I'm Sorry

To apologize someone in Thai is much easier. The base word is thō̂t (โทษ; base word), shorten from khō̌ thō̂t (ขอโทษ; formal base word). We can make more polite by adding the very same khráp (for male) and khà (for female), making it khō̌ thō̂t khráp/khà (ขอโทษครับ/ค่ะ; polite).

But if the situation requires you to be even more polite, you have to use khō̌ àphai khráp/khà (ขออภัยครับ/ค่ะ; more polite). Some (another set of) suffixes can also be added here, but much less choices can be selected from. For example, you may hear restaurant's waiters or waitresses say khō̌ àphai dûai ná khráp/khá (ขออภัยด้วยนะครับ/คะ; polite, softer). Please note that if khà follows , it is changed to khá.

But if the situation requires you to be fucking even more and more polite, we suggest you copy this one: krā̀p khō̌ àphai thân _(name or position, e.g. lū̂k khā́ ~ customer)_ pen yā̀ng sū̌ng (กราบขออภัยท่าน_(ลูกค้า)_เป็นอย่างสูง; very polite).

People can still go more polite, but here we should spend more times on the words that Thais normally use every day. The list of suffixes is not as long as that of thank you, and here it is.

  1. thī - ที; suffix
  2. wà - ว่ะ; suffix
  3. wôei - เว่ย; suffix
  4. ná - นะ; suffix
  5. nā́ - น้า; suffix
  6. khā́p - ค้าบ; suffix - informal form of khráp - masculine
  7. khā̂ - ค่า; suffix - informal form of khà - feminine

And we mix them, like before:

  1. khō̌ thō̂t nā́ (ขอโทษน้า)
  2. thō̂t khā́p (โทษค้าบ)
  3. thō̂t thī wà (โทษทีว่ะ)
  4. thō̂t ná wôei (โทษนะเว่ย)
  5. thō̂t khā̂ (โทษค่า)
  6. thō̂t thō̂t (โทษๆ)
  7. thō̂t wôei (โทษเว่ย)
Ē and Rīao of the SEE SCAPE Band said sorry differently after they told San that they had eliminated him from the show and invited Khànômpang to join as a lead vocal instead. Ē said thō̂t thī wà; Rīao said thō̂t ná wôei. (photo from Thai series "Hormones the Series, Season 3")

Alternatively, sometimes friends don't say sorry. They use another word to ask for forgiveness instead. For example:

  1. dī kan ná (ดีกันนะ); Please become friends like before
  2. yók thō̂t hâi (kū) ná (ยกโทษให้(กู)นะ); Forgive me, please *
  3. yím nòi ná (ยิ้มหน่อยนะ); Smile, please
  4. hā̌i krṑt (kū) hòe (หายโกรธกูเหอะ); Don't be angry at me, please *
  5. krṑt thammai nîa (โกรธทำไมเนี่ย?); Why are you angry? (It's not good to be angry so forgive me and don't be angry!)

* can be replaced with any other words as you can see in How to actually say 'I' in Thai.

You're Welcome / It's Okay

Fortunately, when someone thanks or apologizes you, you can choose one from the following words to respond:

  1. mâi pen àrai khráp/khà (ไม่เป็นอะไรครับ/ค่ะ) - polite/formal *
  2. mâi pen rai wôei/wà (ไม่เป็นไรเว่ย/ว่ะ) - with friends
  3. mâi pen rai ná/nā́ (ไม่เป็นไรนะ/น้า) - softer (with or among girls)
  4. mâi pen rai pū̂ean kan (ไม่เป็นไรเพื่อนกัน) - we are friends, it's nothing at all.
  5. mâi pen rai yā̀ khít mā̂k (ไม่เป็นไร อย่าคิดมาก) - don't think too much, it's ok.
  6. mâi pen rai nít diao ēng (ไม่เป็นไร นิดเดียวเอง) - it's ok, it's nothing at all.

* àrai normally becomes rai when speak fast and fluently.

If you are not ok with the person who says thank you or apologize, you can use the following ones:

  1. kōng wái trong nán làe (กองไว้ตรงนั้นแหละ) - leave it there (I don't want to hear it).
  2. thíng wái trong nán làe (ทิ้งไว้ตรงนั้นแหละ) - leave it there (I don't want to hear it).

And the final one before I go, mâi dâi krṑt (ไม่ได้โกรธ; I am not angry at you) is used to tell your friend who come to apologize you for something that you did not mind it at all.